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From ‘palaces to patios’ - Morso turns up the heat with ambitious growth plans in the UK and Ireland

When your product range that has been deemed ‘fit for a Queen’ for more than a century, the heat is always on not only to maintain, but also ‘stoke’ that demand. This has never been more important than now for Morso, the uber-stylish and aspirational cast iron Danish wood burning stove and accessory manufacturer, which is about to turn up temperature on the UK and Irish markets with plans to more than double turnover in the next three years.

The 150-year-old company, which received the Warrant from the Royal Court of Denmark back in 1915, currently distributes its distinctive products directly through exclusive independent wood burner specialists and online, two channels that have produced six-fold growth over the last decade. The demand – sparked by the appetite for high-quality lifestyle and aesthetic design for both indoors and outdoors - has been further primed by an agreement with John Lewis, the UK’s leading department store, to stock its outdoor range of products including chimineas and patio pizza ovens to ensure the ultimate in alfresco living and dining experiences.

Now with a diverse selection of customers including more than half of the UK’s narrow boat owners, Morso understands its market sectors and the need for a great customer journey in line with the unquenchable demand for its products. “There is a lifestyle trend towards taking the indoors to the outdoors which has really pushed the demand for Morso’s Living Range products,” said Declan Kingsley-Walsh, Morso’s UK Managing Director. But while demand is one thing, cast iron brand protection and maintaining Morso’s royal, world leading credentials – it is a bestselling fire-burning range in 36 countries including Russia and South Korea – is another. “We have seen more than six times growth in the last nine years and we are on the threshold of even stronger demand, but we are very fussy about who sells the Morso range,” said Declan. “We are not about volume, but quality – ‘fit it once, fit it right’ - because our customers are loyal. We have one customer who has had the same Morso for 36 years and it is still going strong and looking good.”

“It is a wonderful brand which is found in all of Denmark’s royal palaces and we are now seeing our outdoor products showcased in the front window of John Lewis in Oxford Street and Peter Jones in Sloane Square, so protecting the brand is very important to us.” With 45 stoves – 29 of which meet the strict DEFRA wood burning regulations – Morso is already working on designs and future emission standards up to 2022. “We have stove demand throughout the year, but the outdoor range of chimineas, fire pits and pizza ovens are firing the imagination through the Summer months,” added Declan. Throughout the last decade, Morso’s success in the UK has been in part due to its relationship with Market Harborough logistics partner Stephen Sanderson Transport Ltd, part of the Palletline network.

We are a big company with real family feel and we want to work with long-term strategic partners who share the same ethos

“We are a big company with real family feel and we want to work with long-term strategic partners who share the same ethos – Sandersons are part of the Morso family,” said Declan. “Yes, we could get it delivered cheaper, but not better. When you are talking about stoves that are worth more than a £1000 and weigh over 160 kilos, you need for them to arrive in A1 condition. We have very few issues with delivery, in fact when there is an issue, Sandersons have fixed it long before I get to hear about it – they are very proactive.” Morso has used Stephen Sanderson Transport Ltd for the last 11 years and has recently launched a new venture with the Palletline ‘Member of the Year’ – the ‘White Glove’ service where drivers working on the John Lewis outdoor range business, not only deliver the products, but also assemble it for the customer as part of the added value offering. “The model is very sensible, Sandersons is a strong family business which understand our needs. Ed Sanderson, the son of the founder Stephen, who started the company in 1973, has grown with our business – Morso is his baby and he is a very strong account manager for us. We can call him at any time of day or night.”

Although Morso operates in 36 countries, the UK is by far its biggest importer from Denmark and the expansion here, and in Ireland, is set to continue between now and 2020 where the brand predicts it will treble its share of the lifestyle market. It has already had to move to bigger premises in Rugby, and further expansion in the same location is expected to help meet demand – not bad for a company that currently only employs 11 staff across the UK and Ireland market. “We are a small team working with an established and dedicated logistics partner in Sandersons. I am regularly approached by other haulage companies, but I tell them all they are wasting their time.

The chain is only as strong as its weakest link and in Sandersons we have quality partners. They recognise that we are not a commodity product and offer a range of services including quarter pallet deliveries in order to be flexible to our customer needs and getting it right for them.” Ed Sanderson, commercial director at the family business, said: “From a business perspective the relationship is more of a partnership and Declan is fully engaged a real advocate of what we do. “It is one of my first accounts and it was brand new when I started with the business and we were doing just two stoves per day. Now it is more than 200.

The demand is incredible, and we are part of that successful journey, including the white glove service which is very exciting because it adds value to both Morso UK and means our customer is confident enough to offer us an extension to their business with John Lewis. We understand the products and the customers, so it is good for all parties.”

“Both Morso and ourselves are service driven organisations and that is central to our relationship.”

Morso continues to be fit for a Queen and her courtiers, but is now also fit for another kind of royalty - king size pizzas. From the Royal Court of Denmark to the patios and parlours of the UK, Morso is the firebrand of fire brands, a flame that burns brightest because of the customer service ethos that the Morso UK demands and receives from all of its staff and supplier partners. It continues to generate excitement and the warmest of welcomes – and most importantly, a cast iron guarantee to keep the home fires burning.